Though the technology was popularised by US company Tesla Energy's Powerwall, innovation in battery storage has often been made by Australian companies, as many remote areas of the country are dependent on off-grid technologies. Aussie company Redflow is no different, announcing their new ZCell battery — an energy storage system that presents an alternative to traditional lead acid and lithium ion batteries.
The ZCell stores 10kWh of energy for a daily cycle and is aimed at the home consumer, with the ability to be retrofitted to existing systems or potentially installed as a package — though the latter will depend on installers rather than Redflow themselves. The enclosure is outdoor-rated and designed to sit on the ground rather than being wall-mounted.
Inside, the system is built around a zinc-bromine flow battery, with the unique technology allowing a number of advantages over traditional systems. For one, the ZCell is designed to be able to completely discharge and recharge its entire 10kWh without any damage to the battery, coming with a full 10-year warranty under these conditions. "ZCell is warranted to deliver its full 10 kWh of stored energy each day for as long as 10 years," explains Redflow Executive Chairman Simon Hackett. "During that period, lead acid and lithium batteries can lose a significant portion of their storage capacity."
ZCell's electrolyte is also a fire retardant, greatly lowering the fire risk of the battery system. It is designed to work at an ambient outside temperature of up to 45C without any additional cooling system, which can be essential in remote areas of Australia.
Aside from the obvious way battery storage allows you to use your energy sustainably, Redflow has further ensured its materials are able to be reused and repurposed in the interest of sustainability. "ZCell is primarily made of plastic, aluminium and steel, elements that are easily recycled, while its fluid electrolyte can be reused or repurposed," says Hackett.
Unlike the Powerwall, the ZCell comes bundled with its own monitoring software — the ZCell Battery Management System, which features a smartphone-compatible Wi-Fi interface.
Redflow estimates the fully installed cost of a 10kWh ZCell system to be $17,500-$19,500 including GST, with an introductory discount of $1000 for Redflow shareholders. The ZCell is estimated to start installations mid year, though you can reserve a battery on the official ZCell site now.